I know, I know. You think you’re hardcore. You think you can eat 50 eggs. You think you can bust through invisible barriers with just a hurled bone. You probably think you can handle forty double features, too.
Hah, I sez. HAH!
I dare you. I double-dog dare you to watch all 40 of these carefully curated double bills, lovingly prepared by your Stand By For Mind Control editors. Some say it plum can’t be done. Some say only the one the prophecies foretell can do it. Some say even the toughest nut will crack in the attempt — go mad dog loony and melt into a puddle of oatmeal and feathers.
But — if the risk to your soul is worth it to you — then heck, go ahead and you just TRY. And when you’re done? Ask us for the double feature test so we can certify your heretofore unimaginable achievement with super special yet-to-be-determined prizes, lauds, whistles, bells, and oatmeal. We’ve got plenty of oatmeal, most of it tainted with feathers.
So here, if you dare, is the complete list of Mind Control Double Features — a new one published every Thursday — in reverse chronological order. Click through to read all about each set of films, if you ain’t scared, you scaredy-pants. And don’t delay. Each week the list will grow longer and the test will get harder and the oatmeal more congealed and less delicious.
40. Sunshine / Pitch Black
You know what you probably take for granted? That’s right; it’s the Sun. Big. Yellow. Important for life as we know it. What you need is a pair of overlooked sci-fi films to remind you to buy the Sun some flowers and maybe a nice card. One of those pashmina shawls would be nice, too.
39. The Deadly Mantis / The Beginning of the End
Are you aware of what percentage of your diet is made up of insects? Do you know what percentage of a giant insect’s diet is made up of you? Or even just some specific tender parts of you, like your palms? These are fascinating questions that this double bill will not answer directly. For satisfaction, please ask your new giant insect overlords for a copy of form 27B-6, to be filled in in triplicate.
38. Sullivan’s Travels / Barton Fink
There’s nothing quite so uncommon as the proverbial common man. Think you can just throw a rock and hit one? Nope; those are writers. Join War-era cut ups, Sullivan and Fink, as they attempt to find an everyday Joe without losing their dang heads, figuratively or whatever. It’s a rough search. They’ll need whiskey. Just like you.
37. ¡Three Amigos! / Galaxy Quest
In times of desperate need, who you gonna call? The Ghostbusters? Forget it. Bill Murray is so particular these days. Mom? Not unless you’re Linda Hamilton’s kid. How about a troupe of washed-up actors that convincingly pretends to be heroes? Yeah! That’s sure to work. What could possibly go wrong with a solid plan like that?
36. The Elephant Man / District 9
Personally, I question your basic humanity. You’re no better than an animal — I’ve seen you eat. What is that stuff anyway? Oatmeal? But what if you started to question your own separation from the rest of the animal kingdom? What if we took away your goddamned thumbs? What then, huh? I guess you oughta watch these two films to find out
35. The Wind That Shakes the Barley /
In the Name of the Father
Ah, Ireland. Land of vibrant green, ethereal music, and some fortunately waning political strife. Whether you’re a Republican or a Loyalist or wise enough to step above simplified distinctions, we wish you peace and double features — this one being all about those troublesome Irish troubles.
34. Freaks / Gadjo Dilo
Shall we take a peak behind the curtain and try to catch a glimpse of forbidden fruit like, uh, kumquats and pomegranates? Those two are pretty taboo as far as fruits go. But no. This double-bill is all about slipping inside hidden cultures. Join up with the circus sideshow and run off with the Gypsies. This could be your only chance.
33. Le Samouraï /
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
While you may think that hiring a hit-ninja is the way to go, there is a classier option. Hit-samurai have been plying their deadly trade in film since before anyone thought to strap incendiary devices onto pigeons and throw breadcrumbs at Hitler. Go samurai and never look back.
32. The Detective / Die Hard
Did you ever see the Die Hard prequel? Yeah. That’s right. I said ‘prequel’ and it stars Frank Sinatra as proto-John McClane. Mind blown, right? Why not follow us down the psychological pathways what make a man go yippie-kai-yai and then show up in an infinite number of progressively less engaging sequels which we can’t help seeing anyway.
31. Ed Wood / Living in Oblivion
There are many ways to make a movie and even more ways not to make one. This double bill dives head first into the brick wall of bad filmmaking with two features that give you step-by-step instructions on what precisely not to do should you wish to make it in Hollywood (unless you wish to make it ironically or in Michael Bay productions).
30. JCVD / Tristam Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story
Just, you know, be yourself. But if you could try to be yourself being yourself, that would make these two movies more interesting, in a self-reflective, meta, mind-boggling way. Come watch actors play the role they were born to play: themselves as stars. Is it for real or all an act? Yes. I think. Wait. Let me ask me pretending to be me to see what he thinks.
29. Revengers Tragedy / Delicatessen
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s the post-apocalypse. First off, the apocalypse is just generally bad news all around. Second off, the apocalypse is supposed to be all final and everything so who does existence think it is continuing to exist afterwards? Dirty pool, I say. But, as long as it’s happening, might as well watch some excellently weird films.
28. Woman in the Dunes / Evil Dead II
Get. Out. Of. The. House! How often have you heard those foreboding words right before you were eaten alive by a giant mollusk wearing a fake moustache? Still. We never learn. Or maybe we do learn and yet it’s just really really hard to get out of the house. It certainly is when you’ve got two brilliant films to watch. And both of these films are equally brilliant in vastly different ways.
27. The Asphalt Jungle / The Killing
If there’s one thing we love at Stand By For Mind Control, it’s film noir and capybaras. Two things. If there are two things we love they’re film noir, capybaras, and Sterling Hayden and Joe Turkel. Actually, I guess we love a lot of things. Marilyn Monroe getting an early break included, particularly in such a nice capybara sweater.
26. The Third Man / Miller’s Crossing
It’s a moral quandary; if you were only going to watch one of these two films about torn loyalties, which would you stay faithful to? Don’t answer. It’s a trick question. You have to watch them both in a row. That’s why it’s called a double feature. What are you? An amateur? Better get to work watching these — two of the best films ever made.
25. Pi / Seconds
You know that feeling when you just want to take a power tool and press it up against the tight skin of your noggin, letting its spinning point sink into your skull? No? Hm. Maybe it’s just us and the characters in these films. Still, now that we’ve raised the possibility, you’re curious aren’t you? Good. I’m glad to hear it. (Home trepanation not actually recommended.)
24. The Postman / Escape From L.A.
The year 2013 is verifiably doomed. It has been written in the stars forever, or at least for decades, when these two films chose the year for their setting and then proceeded to be hysterically, jaw-droppingly terrible. Have you ever watched The Postman? If not, you may have a new favorite worst film and a new favorite worst year. Settle in for a real treat and then wait for the doom of 2013 to overtake us all.
23. Cabeza de Vaca / Monty Python’s Life of Brian
That Jesus sure knows how to party, but that doesn’t mean we’ve invited him along to this holiday-themed double bill. In fact, in the name of heathens everywhere, these two films are specifically not about Jesus. They’re about not-Jesus in a non-antichrist sort of way. Watch and learn about important things like tolerance and wolf nipple chips.
22. Winter’s Bone / The Castle
A man’s home is his or her castle, even if it’s not exactly nice or anything. And ain’t no friggity-fraggin’ muckity-muck gonna run me off’a my land and make me eat no vitamins. I got my tinfoil hat! Wait. What was I saying? Oh yeah. Home. Let’s protect it all costs. I know! Let’s build a moat. You go first. I’ve always suspected you would be good at building moats.
21. The Man Who Fell to Earth / Being There
You know what space foreigners really love? No, besides anal probes. Yes. It’s watching gobs and gobs of television. And playing with their space nipples. Both of which you can enjoy viewing on your own big screen teevee in this double feature about alien-types grooving on the boob tube. We all like to watch. What’s wrong with that?
20. Them! / Aliens
Getting laid is a totally different thing if you come from an egg. And while you may love your momma, you and your brood of giant carnivorous insectoids are going down in flames. Literally. As a bonus, this double bill will teach the basics of burrowing, hive-minding, and egg-sacking. You will also learn how to use the grenade launcher on your M41A Pulse Rifle.
19. Something Wild / Miami Blues
When you think film noir, you probably picture Bogart, inky black shadows, and dangerous beauties with blood on their mind. That’s not always the way it goes, however. Welcome to the ’80s my friend. Here the genre digs down to its rotten roots. Don’t worry; everything will still end poorly and painfully, and that’s always fun to watch, particularly when Alec Baldwin is involved.
18. Dogtooth / They Live
Are you feeling comfortable? Well, we can fix that. Please allow us to rip the world’s filmy skin of illusion right off like a pair of tear-away trousers. Is everything not quite as you believed? Is the next airplane yours? Are aliens controlling your thoughts? Probably, but not through these two Mind Control films. Hey! Wait a minute…
17. Age of Consent /
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover
Long before Helen Mirren was The Queen, she acted your pants off (and hers) in these two exceptional films. Watch and celebrate a true rarity — the actress who continues to receive her due as her beauty and talents mature. And also, I guess, see her naked if you don’t mind having dirty thoughts about the Queen of England, you pervert.
16. Down By Law / Breaking Away
Oh to be in the ancient and esteemed land of Italy! Yes, live the glorious dream alongside this pair of odd Roman-related romances, both built to free you from the bonds of boredom. You’ll laugh, cry, break out, and bike a few laps — if you can keep up with the Cutters. Now, let me tell you about how my mother used to cook a rabbit and then we’ll all scream for ice cream.
15. The Last Man on Earth / Night of the Living Dead
Feeling lonely? Harden the fuck up. At least the living dead are not at your doorstep, shuffling and pounding and trying to sell you half-life insurance. And when they do come knocking, and they certainly will, rest assured it won’t be because you’ve got a tasty body; they’re really into you for your brains. BRAAAIIINNNNS! Also, they may just have to use the john. Did you think of that?
14. Shampoo / Bulworth
Warren Beatty deserves your attention (if not your vote). He’s a marvel of political drama and in this double feature he disrobes Lady Liberty so you can gawk at her tatty underthings. He’s also a marvel of tatty underthings, as luck would have it. Politics after all is like sex; it’s only dirty if done right. I mean wrong. Wait. I’m confused. Let’s ask Mr. Beatty’s hair. If anyone knows, it’s Warren Beatty’s hair.
13. The Devil’s Advocate / Wild Things
Huh wut sez yu? No like flim make hed werk alla time? Want smear brain with happy fun trash? Yu watch this. Iz good. Deez flims gots lottsa yellin’ and smoochy-face and Al Pacino pretending to care about movie. So make up a big batch of sweet sweet poppin’ corn, cover it in butter and M&Ms, and enjoy an evening completely devoid of any nutritional value whastoever.
12. Repulsion / Deep Blue Sea
This double feature dares to ask the primordial question; what’s scarier, a woman locked in an apartment with a rotting rabbit or super intelligent mako sharks with a hunger for human flesh and a keen grasp of advanced physics? To find the answer, ask the lower half of Samuel L. Jackson. Watch these films at your own risk, preferably with L.L. Cool J’s parrot and a hat shaped like a shark fin.
11. King Kong / The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Screw CGI. At one time stop-motion animation was the gosh-durned bee’s knees. And you know what? It’s still pretty awesome. The original King Kong knocks later pretenders clear out of the air with its sheer brilliance. Sinbad can’t be beat if you want to see a cyclops fight a dragon. And if you don’t want to see that we question your sanity.
10. The Mosquito Coast / Gimme Shelter
Good intentions are fine and dandy, but they ain’t no guarantee of glory. Watch Harrison Ford’s dreams melt away and Mick Jagger realize the devil might not deserve so much sympathy in this double-fisted cocktail of crushed hopes. It may not be the most uplifting pair of features but it should make you appreciate how disaster-free your life is (assuming you are not currently on fire).
9. Kiss Me Deadly / Repo Man
Where do you think Tarantino got the idea for his mysterious glowing Pulp Fiction suitcase? His brain? Hell no. Almost nothing comes out of Tarantino’s brain that wasn’t abandoned there by other artists years and years ago. Check out these two films featuring glowing suitcases to get your radiating dose of delirium and, if you’re thinking about it, a plate of shrimp.
8. Videodrome / Tapeheads
Long ago, in days of yore, “be kind rewind” meant something important. Movies came on VHS tapes that were prone to distortion and accidental overdubbing. This film duo focuses on the effects of the video era when things got extra warped, particularly if you watched the wrong tape. It also features John Cusack wearing a non-ironic moustache.
7. Island of Lost Souls / The Island of Dr. Moreau
How many different ways can you tell the same story? Both based on H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, these two features, made more than 60 years apart, answer that question whilst plumbing the depths of our animal nature—and I’m not just taking about Marlon Brando dressed like a circus tent. They actually do animal plumbing. It’s a living.
6. I Am Cuba / This Is England
There’s no country like the one you sprang forth from, whichever one that happens to be (unless it’s Equatorial Guinea, sorry). Whether you were born on a revolutionary tropical island or a reactionary racist one, people will stand up for their national flag, or airline, or beer. Find out what it might have been like to live in another time and place with these odes, poetic and pugnacious, to national identity.
5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off / Election
If it’s been long enough since you left high school, you may look back on those glory days with fondness and/or bifocals. This double bill eggs you on and then eggs your face. Being young ain’t always a picnic, even if you’re popular. If you think that isn’t so, please completely fill in circle C with a #2 pencil and hand your copybooks to Mrs. Pancreas.
4. Glengarry Glen Ross / Margin Call
If making it rich is the American dream, then these two films will probably keep you up into the wee hours of the night, twitching and mumbling about percentages and imminent financial ruin. Watch two mostly male ensemble casts tear each other apart over the almighty dollar and see if you can win yourself a set of steak knives. Second prize is you’re fired.
3. Enter the Dragon / The Kentucky Fried Movie
What happens when you take Bruce Lee and throw him in with a shower full of Catholic high school girls? I dunno. He’s dead and that would probably get me in more trouble than I’m already in. But this double feature might help you glimpse into the great beyond to find out, that is if you can get out of that gorilla suit and win a martial arts tournament.
2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show /
The American Astronaut
No one expects the unexpected, even when you get a double dose of it. Like that time in Tangiers with those goats? You remember. Even if you don’t, you should watch these films, two of cinema’s weirdest genre amalgamations. You’ll sing along to some sci-fi / horror / western / romance and feel all the better for it. If you should choose to do so while under the influence of a battery of drugs, that is your choice.
1. Gallipoli / Paths of Glory
If you never knew how wonderful the First World War could be or what Mel Gibson was like before his inner douche bag assumed control of him, kilt and caboodle, this program has your marching orders. Get your ass out of the trenches and get in there, kid. Or don’t. You’ll get shot either way. No, no. We’re just kidding. It’s totally safe.